Searching for Paradise: Economic Development and Environmental Change in the Mountain West

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 - Social Science - 273 pages
The signs of economic change loom large in the mountain West as shuttered mines and lumber mills are overshadowed by luxurious homes sprouting on valley bottoms and ridge lines. This perceptive book explains these changes, assesses their effects on the natural environment, and gauges the reactions of local communities. Douglas E. Booth argues that population spread to the mountain West is following a pattern similar to the historical movement of people from central city to suburb, enabled by increases in income and wealth and changes in technology that ease the movement of goods, people, and information. Consolidating evidence that residential development and sprawl in the rural mountain West are placing stress on native plants and animals, the author shows how the current boom is adding to the cumulative and relatively permanent threats to ecosystems and biodiversity remaining from the older extractive economy. Booth demonstrates that population increases are fuelling local support for measures that would restrict and guide growth. He explores the formation of land trusts and other strategies for mitigating the negative ecological consequences of development. Drawing on concepts from economics, environmental ethics, and conservation biology, Booth suggests that the ultimate solution lies in re-directing population growth away from rural areas to reinvigorated and environmentally attractive 'ecological cities' and to increase the density of development within rural areas themselves. Policymakers, activists, and local citizens concerned with rural sprawl will find this book an invaluable resource.
 

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Contents

The Suburbanization of the Mountain West
1
Economic Trends in the Mountain Counties RuralUrban Convergence
15
Population Spreading in the Mountain West Mobility and Footloose Income
35
The Cumulative Ecological Consequences of Mountain West Economic Development
75
Rural Sprawl and Rare and Threatened Species in the Mountain West
109
Local Growth and Support for Preserving the Natural Landscape in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
141
Saving the Landscape Environmental Change and the Land Trust Movement in the Mountain West
169
The Environmental Ethics of Rural Sprawl Ecological Cities and Biodiversity
203
Strategies for Limiting Rural Sprawl
223
Bibliography
237
Index
251
About the Author
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

\Douglas E. Booth is retired associate professor of economics at Marquette University and a founding board member of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy.

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